Ferrets and Water – 10 Questions Answered

Water is very important for ferrets and dehydration should not be taken lightly. If your ferret hasn’t touched a drop of water in over 30 hours, the situation can easily turn fatal. These adorable creatures always need access to clean and fresh water. It’s up to them how much water they need, but their water bowl or bottle should never be empty.

In this article, we’ll talk about ferrets and how often they usually drink water.

How much water do ferrets need in a day?


The amount of water a ferret needs a day depends on the pet’s weight and what type of food it eats. On a general level, a ferret requires between 50 to 100ml per kg of body weight per day. This is enough to keep them healthy and happy. But you should always allow them to drink as much as they need. And in case of dehydration, they might drink even more than that until they are back to normal.

If your ferret eats dry food, then it’s more likely that they will need a lot of water each day. But if it starts drinking a bit less than usual and you’ve recently changed its diet, it may not be a reason to panic. If your pet gets some of the water it needs from the food, then it makes sense to reduce the water it drinks from the bowl. But to be 100% safe, a visit to the vet can be beneficial.

How do ferrets drink water?

Ferrets can drink water either from a bowl or from a bottle. Both methods have their advantages and disadvantages, but in the end, it depends on the ferret’s preference. A water bowl allows your pet to drink a lot more water and helps a lot in keeping it hydrated. However, the bowl must be very heavy or attached to the cage so the ferret wouldn’t spill the water while playing.

On the other hand, water bottles are a lot more secure as they can be tightly tied to the cage, from the outside. This ensures that no matter how aggressive your ferret is with the bottle, it won’t come down. But the problem with it is that the water comes in small quantities and ferrets simply don’t have the patience to get properly hydrated.

Do ferrets drink a lot of water?

Ferrets drink quite a lot of water but it’s perfectly normal. You should expect your pet to drink up o 100ml of water a day per kg of body weight. Fill a bowl or a bottle with water and allow the ferret to drink as much as it needs.

If you sometimes struggle to keep up with refilling the water bowl, then your ferret definitely drinks as much water as it needs. But if it hasn’t drunk anything in more than 6 hours, you should be ready for a vet visit.

Your pet might also drink a bit too much water when the heat is unbearable. But this is normal as long as the ferret doesn’t exaggerate. It’s very important to remember that ice cubes can be harmful as well and you should never give a very hot ferret a cube of ice to cool off.

How often do ferrets drink water?

A ferret can end up drinking water up to 20 times a day. This is because they have a very fast metabolism and they need to always keep themselves hydrated. More than that, they are very active when they are awake, which causes them to need more water. This is why you should always let the cage open when your ferrets play outside. If they get thirsty or a bit hungry, they can quickly run to the cage.

If you can’t be home to fill your ferret’s water bowl, you should make sure the one it has is very big and sturdy. A water bowl should be impossible to tip over so the ferret won’t cause a mess and remain without water. But if your pet has a habit of picking fights with the water bowl, you can attach a water bottle to the side of the cage as well. This will work as an emergency water supply in case the bowl spills.

While sleeping, ferrets won’t get up to drink water or snack. But when it’s playtime, you will quickly notice that they will run around for a few minutes, then go for a sip of water, play again for a few minutes, and the cycle repeats. If the pet is dehydrated, you can expect it to drink up to 25 times a day.

Should ferrets have a water bowl or water bottle?

If your ferret needs a water bottle or a water bowl depends entirely on your ferret. Some ferrets will refuse to drink from anywhere else besides a water bowl, others will be the same with their water bottles. Their preference is everything that matters, otherwise, your stubborn little ball of fur can get dehydrated.

But if you are lucky ad your ferret doesn’t mind either water container, you should be aware that they both have their pros and cons. Water bowls are excellent for dehydrated ferrets as they allow them to drink more water and it’s easier to use. However, when the ferret wants to play, the water bowl is often collateral damage. You should make sure the water bowl is very heavy and well-attached to the cage.

Water bottles are impossible to spill as they need to be tied to the cage to work. But they also offer a bit less water and this can leave some ferrets slightly dehydrated. Ferrets are very impatient creatures and most of them hate spending too much time trying to drink from their water bottle.

How can I tell if a ferret is dehydrated?

Dehydration shows in many different ways. But some of the most common signs are dry mouth, sticky saliva, dry and sticky gums, dry eyes, diarrhea, weakness, exhaustion, and decrease in the amount of urine and how often they use the little box. You should always keep these signs in mind in case something seems off with your ferret and you don’t know why.

Now let’s also talk about different stages of dehydration so you can figure out how serious the problem is when you can’t get a vet on the line. The earliest stage that is detectable is at 6% dehydration. This is when the pet stops urinating so frequently and their mouth starts to be a bit drier. And the skin won’t be tenting and would roll back after the release.

The next stage is 8% dehydration and this is when the skin becomes less and less tentative and takes a bit of time to roll back. Your pet would also have not urinated in some time and the mouth becomes a lot drier, while the eyes become slightly dull.

At 10% dehydration, things get a lot more serious. The tents would refuse to stay up at all and both the eyes and mouth will be dry. Your ferret will stop going to the litter box almost entirely, and when it does, the pee is very concentrated. The poor animal’s body temperature would have sunken as well.

If your ferret stops urinating entirely and pretty much everything seems very dry, the dehydration is somewhere between 12 to 15%. This is also when the tenting would be at its peak. You can start rehydrating your pet very carefully and then run to the vet the next chance you got. It’s also recommended to have a vet on the phone to guide you through the process.

How long will ferrets go without water?

Ferrets can survive OK without water for a day or two. If they don’t have access to water for a longer period of time, it can be fatal. This is also why wild ferrets are known to attack prey just for their blood, even when they’re not hungry. They must remain hydrated at all times and consuming water from their prey is a good way to do that.

It’s normal to see your ferret drink water up to 20 times a day. But if it goes to the water bowl less and less, you should check if there’s a problem. At first, wash the bowl and replace the water as ferrets can detect if there’s something wrong with it before you do. But if they keep persisting and refuse to drink anything for around 12 hours, you should run to the vet.

Can ferrets drink tap water?

Source: j.reed

Tap water is perfectly safe for your ferret if it’s recommended for humans as well. If you cannot drink it, then your ferret cannot as well. This is because most of the time the water comes in mixed with numerous purification chemicals. This includes chlorine, fluoride, etc.

While distilled water seems like a great idea, it’s actually not. This is because distilling it will get rid of the necessary nutrients and minerals along with the harmful chemicals. Filtration is highly recommended as minerals remain in the water but the impurities do not.

Why do ferrets dig in a water bowl?

This is very normal behavior, which is why heavy bowls are highly recommended. These creatures are natural diggers and digging in their water bowl can be a lot of fun. Some ferrets absolutely love playing around in your bathtub. If you notice that the ferrets start scratching more and more at the water bowl, take it as a sign of boredom and take them out to play.

Another reason why they would dig in their water bowl is that they want food. If you wet their food a bit before giving it to them, they will stop messing with the water bowl very quickly.

How often should water bowls be cleaned?

A water bowl needs to be cleaned every day. When you’re cleaning the litter, take 2 minutes to clean the water and food bowls. This is the standard cleaning to prevent any bacterial build-up. But once a week you need to place the bowls in your bathtub, pour some heavy disinfectant on them, let them soak for an hour, and then wash them extremely well.

Make sure you’re rinsing them off properly and that there is no detergent or disinfectant left on the bowls. After they dry up, you can place them back inside the cage.